Page images
PDF
EPUB

panteth after the water brook, so panteth my soul after thee, O God:' for the captain was frequently drunk. He began one Sunday with the steward, because he had not put on a clean shirt; the steward said he had put one on the day before, and could not do it every day. On his saying this, the captain turned him out of the cabin, and ordered the carpenter to fetch him a stave and cut it in half, and then challenged the steward to fight; but he declined, and soon after the captain asked him again into the cabin. Oh, what would I have given that day, to have been in the courts of my God! but I had indeed to say, • Woe is me, that I dwell in the tents of wickedness.' I do not recollect any thing more particularly till we got to Jamaica. · The boat went on shore in Antigua bay, and our steward, who went in her, ran away ; but the boat came off with the things we went for. The mate, myself, and the others, went back again in search of the steward, but could not find him : we were gone a long time, and when we came back, the second mate told us that Capt. S. had been in a state of intoxication during the time we were gone, and had asked him if he was agreeable to go and leave the boat and us behind. If the captain had run away

instead of the steward, it would have been no great loss, for he was nothing but a complete trouble to us. We next made sail for the bay of Honduras.

I do not remember any thing worth notice till the Saturday night before we got into the bay, and that I shall never forget. The pilot came on board and found the captain in a most awful state of intoxication, swearing dreadfully; and we were taken that evening in a most dreadful storm of wind, hail, and lightning, so that we were obliged to get the ship reefed as soon as possible. Oh! it was a dreadful night: I was the greater part of that time at the wheel; what I felt is better felt than described. The pilot came and told me to keep the ship S.W.; and the beast of a captain came in the midst of the storm, and ordered me to keep her W.S.W.; then told me not to alter until he bid me; and told the pilot to go off his quarter-deck. The pilot took no notice of what the captain said, but attended well to his duty; and at last the captain laid himself down on the round-house, and fell asleep, and rolled off on the deck, and slept for some time. Glad enough we were for this, as we were more quiet; the storm lasted till about one o'clock on Sunday morning, and at nine we got safe to anchor, through a merciful Providence. I was indeed constrained to say, “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy; for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities :' and I was led more feelingly to exclaim, “ Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat.'

“When we got to Honduras, the captain said he would search all the chests, to see if any had stolen any of the steward's things; accordingly we were called in our turns to open our chests : at last it came to my turn; I opened it, and took two or three things out, and next was the Bible; as soon as the captain saw that he turned away, and said, “That will do.' May God grant that blessed book may, ere long, turn him from his wicked ways, to serve the living God. We made sail to go to Mahoa river, which took us four days. Here we discharged our ballast, and began to take in the cargo. We were there I think about six weeks; during that time the captain's conduct was most shameful, in consequence of his being so constantly drunk; and as the sailors say, when the captain was drunk, that he was ‘half seas across ;' so that we had nothing but confusion and blunders. One day he would make us bring more logs off than we could possibly get in in one day; so that they were left alongside of the ship.

One night the raft broke away; as soon as we found it out we made search for the logs, but three we neyer found—it was three out of the 124 that we had to take and discharge at Belize. It is quite impossible for me to give a description of our circumstances; but to see our captain, whose duty it was to keep order, in such an awful state, and to hear the dreadful oaths from him to the sailors, and from them to the captain, made me sometimes almost ready to leave the ship; and, indeed, had it not been that I felt in doing so I should be going from the path of duty, I should have left them. One thing I know, and that was, that Jesus was in the ship; and that many times to bless

my

soul. “ Part of the time we were out, I was very ill : at one time I gave up all hopes of ever seeing England again ; and the captain's treatment of me at the time I was ill, was such as no humane person could credit. As I wish to forget and forgive, I will not mention the particulars of that trying time; but I feel it is a duty I owe to my Preserver to say, that I was enabled to 'cast all my care upon him who careth for me. I felt at that time in a way I

7

never did, that there was ‘help laid upon one that was mighty to save;' and many times with the prophet, I said, * Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. The Lord in mercy restored me to health, for which I felt thankful. I often looked at the captain, thinking that he really was one of the devil's ministers. One day the sailors and he had a great noise and confusion, about what the sailors call duff ; at last the captain took up

the

gun to shoot us; but the mate was behind him, and took the gun from him: I do not know whether the gun was loaded or not.

“ I will now leave the captain a little, and turn to something better. I went on shore one evening, and saw a black woman sitting by the market. I went up to her, and she said, “How you do, sir ?' I asked her if she attended any place of worship, she said, “ Yes, me go to de Baptist Chapel: me hear de Gospel preach; it make me cry: me go to de Sunday School, and me love God.' I really found it right down good to hear her talk. I asked her if she knew Capt. Whittle. I shall never forget her looks when she said, “Me know Captain WhittleO yes, me know Captain Whittle; he be good man, he did preach de Gospel, and me did see de words come out of his mouth, and it do me good: but Captain Whittle no come again, but stay at home to preach de Gospel’ I was very sorry the time came for us to part; she rose up, put her basket on her head, and said, 'Good bye, broder, good bye, God bless you. This was at Belize.

• The following Sabbath I went to the Wesleyan Chapel. I heard a good sermon from these words, ' I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness.' I cannot say that I saw the words come out of the preacher's mouth, but I rather think I felt them: it was a feast to my hungry soul.

The next time I went on shore on the Sabbath day, I went to the school. I think about 70 were learning to read, and some their letters; they appeared from five or six years old, to forty or fifty years of age : much good is doing there, praise God.

I was so very much pleased with the manner of the natives, at the time of my being ill; they were very kind in their way. When they saw me they said, ' Oh, me glad me see you, but you look so poorly; neber mind broder, look up broder, dat Jesus dat die for you

and me make

you better.

On the 27th of October we left the bay of Honduras, and made sail for England. I must confess that the thoughts of being so long with my swearing shipmates and drunken captain, made me shudder; but one thing, this blessed promise, bore me up, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.' In the evening of the day we sailed I was at the wheel ; it was dark; the mate came from his cabin on the quarter-deck, and asked who was at the wheel. I told him it was I; he then said to the captain, who was sitting on the hen-coop eating his supper, very drunk, 'I think, Sir, the ship has made a south-east course the last two hours.' The captain looked at me, and said, “If I had a knife I would run it in you.' I cannot say but what I felt rather timid, as he was so near me. At last

up he got, and made an aim to strike me, but slipped, and fell down on the deck quite insensible. The mate came and shook him, but he was quite senseless, when he called the second mate and carpenter, and they carried our beastly captain into his cabin: then the mate took his liquor and locked it up

in his own cabin. When the captain came to himself, or rather became sober, he was angry with the mate for taking his poison away, and had it again. This is the way Capt. S. went on while his liquor lasted; and when he had drank it all, I was heartily glad, for we then went on pretty well : he was quite another man when sober.

Nothing particular occurred on our passage, until one morning, just as it began to get daylight; as some of us were standing on the bow, we saw something like land : the mate said, according to their calculation we were 87 miles from the western islands; we then soon shaped our course for Ireland. The wind was sometimes favourable, and at other times hard, but by the blessing of God we got there safe. The wind being hard, and we being short of provisions, the captain took a pilot, and we got into Crook Haven, where we lay a week, and all that week Capt. S. was not one day sober. The day we sailed for Greenock he was like, I cannot tell what, for I never yet saw any thing that I could compare to a drunken man. In coming out of the haven the ship nearly got on shore. Some called out, “Let go the anchor;' but the captain said, “ No, no,' as well as he could stammer it out; but the second mate ran and let the anchor go, and just saved the ship from going ashore. The poor fellow in doing this fell down, and very much injured his knee, so that he could scarcely move for some time after ; however we all, by the help of a good and kind Providence, arrived safe at

[ocr errors]

Greenock, in Scotland. I should have said, that one evening, on our passage from Ireland to Scotland, the captain had been drinking whiskey to excess, so that he got the ship inbay'd, and then sent out word to the mate to inquire if he would be responsible for the ship for two hours, as he would go to sleep. The mate came and asked the men to put the ship about, for he knew that we were not in the right channel for Greenock. It became quite dark by the time the ship was got out. I expected nothing else that night but that ship and cargo would have been lost, and all hands have perished. We were as near being on shore as we possibly could be, and not be quite aground. No sooner had we got out of that place, than the wind blew so hard that we were obliged to clew up the topsails ; that night we came to close reef main-topsails, and had as much wind as we could bear our ship under.

That night the mate, second mate, and carpenter, went into the captain's cabin, took his whiskey away by force, and threw it overboard. One night, as I and one of my shipmates were walking the deck, we heard such a terrible noise, that we stood for a moment or two, and could not think what it could be; at last we heard a loud cry: we ran to see what was the matter, and found that it was the captain, who had fallen down the cabin, and his head in a hole where one of the logs were. We took hold of his legs and pulled him out: the mate got out of his bed and said to him, “ Capt. $. you will certainly lose the ship. The captain said, as well as he could, 'No I sha’nt.'

on Christmas night we landed safe at Greenock, and I think there never was a time before that period, when I felt more thankful to the Almighty.

“ When I think of the awful state the captain was in, and the dreadful oaths and curses from some of my shipmates, I stand astonished at the goodness and forbearance of a merciful God. I oftentimes trembled when I looked at the ship's company, and reflected that not one of them ever offered a prayer to God: but I felt comforted when I recollected we were the subjects of many prayers from many quarters at home. I desire to heartily thank all those who pray for them that go down to the sea in ships, that do business on the mighty waters.' I must say, that I sometimes think Christian friends forget us too often at their public prayer meetings, and at the family altar: how it is in the closet I must leave. I am sure there is no class of persons that require their prayers so much as sea

It was

« PreviousContinue »